• Blake gets past Kohlschreiber, still alive in Shanghai race

    10/30/08 4:24 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Blake gets past Kohlschreiber, still alive in Shanghai race James Blake defeats Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets on Thursday in Paris. A quarterfinal showdown with Roger Federer appears likely.

    James Blake kept his slim Masters Cup hopes afloat with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round of the Masters Series Paris on Thursday afternoon. Blake will meet Roger Federer in the quarterfinals if the world No. 2 can get past Marin Cilic. Blake would need to upset Federer (or defeat Cilic) and then reach Sunday's final in order to have a chance at qualifying for Shanghai.

    Blake's progression to the quarterfinals, however, was in a bit of doubt most of the way against Kohlschreiber. The German went toe-to-toe with Blake, and even had the slight upper hand, until 4-4 in the opening set. That's when Blake seized the first break of the match and he promptly served out the set at 5-4. Blake had to save one break point earlier in the set, but he had little trouble taking care of every other service game.

    The No. 11 seed used that momentum to gain a decisive break early in the second. Save for that brief stretch at the end of the first and beginning of the second, Kohlschreiber was squarely in the match. He could never quite overcome that brief period of mental lapses. Kohlschreiber saved two match points while serving to stay in the match at 3-5 and that seemed to renew his belief. He won the first three point's in Blake's ensuing service game, but the American saved all of the break points with a combination of big serves and forehands. Blake then took the last two points--match point with another massive forehand--to book his place in the quarterfinals.

    It was Blake's first career win over Kohlschreiber, having lost to the No. 30 player in the world each of the past two seasons on the grass courts of Halle, Germany. Blake scored a similar--although far more monumental--breakthrough over Federer at the Olympics this summer. He is still just 1-8 lifetime against the Swiss. Blake is 1-0 against Cilic.

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Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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